NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 28, 2014

Big-ticket requests will go before voters

(Continued)

Similar work has been done in recent years at the police station, which is about the same age, Khan said. The funding for that work came from a bequest left for the police department’s use by a deceased resident.

Should voters approve all three fire department requests, it would equal about 20 cents per $1,000 on the tax rate.

The budget

The proposed budget of $20,324,857, up from $18,711,069 this year, is roughly a 8.6 percent rise, more than usual for Seabrook. But figures can be deceiving, officials say, because most of the $1,613,788 increase is due to contractual issues over which officials have no control, said Town Manager Bill Manzi. Specifically, they relate to previous union contracts, approved by voters at past elections, which include salary increases, as well as a more than 20 percent increase in employee health insurance premiums.

Khan said only about 1 percent of the increase represents spending that town officials control.

If voters nix the budget, a default budget of $20,220,230 would automatically go into effect, only about $105,000 less than the budget proposed.

Should voters pass the budget, it is estimated to equal about $7.89 per thousand on the tax rate.

Other money-related warrant questions

The warrant also includes the usual funding requests, such as money for several human service organizations or to buy materials for the town library.

This year, the Water Department is requesting a total of $376,750 in articles, including $178,750 to develop and implement a ground water management plan and $50,000 to clean and rehab all of the town’s wells. The department is also requesting $42,000 to pay for the final phase of the ground water mapping system, and $106,000 to buy a new backhoe/loader. All together, the requests equal about 14 cents on the tax rate.

The Department of Public Works/Parks and Cemeteries is requesting more than half a million dollars in its seven warrant requests, including equipment purchases of $160,000 for a sidewalk snowplow, $135,000 to replace its 1996 loader/backhoe, $60,000 to replace a 1999 plow and $25,000 to replace its 1992 tractor.

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